About National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases

The National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) of Indian Council of Agricultural Research is a premier institute of India for research on exotic and emerging pathogens of animals. NIHSAD came into existence on 8th Aug., 2014 as an independent institute under ICAR from its original status as High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL), a regional station of Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Izatnagar. The institute has contributed significantly by detecting many animal diseases of exotic origin and preventing them from entering our country. The bio-containment laboratory of HSADL has been operational continuously since year 1998 for handling exotic/emerging animal diseases, providing rapid diagnosis and conducting basic and applied research on emerging animal pathogens. Realizing the challenging need of stringent biological safety measures in the era of globalized animal trade and the growing threat of novel pathogens, the HSADL, as part of IVRI, was upgraded as an independent national level institute for extending better services to the nation in animal health through its mandated programmes and objectives.

The institute has a BSL-3+ biocontainment facility having a laboratory wing and an animal wing. Both the wings have separate entries through shower system. The exit system with compulsory shower out has airtight doors operated with PLC control. The primary containment barrier is provided in the laboratory rooms where high risk organisms are to be handled for research purposes. The primary barriers available in laboratory are biological safety cabinets (Class II B1 and Class II B2), isolators (Class III BSC), personal suits, respirators, laboratory coats, gloves, head, eye and face coverings. The secondary barrier is the infrastructural facilities, which play a key role in preventing the escape of organisms to the environment. These mainly include civil work, effluent treatment plant, air handling system, rendering plant, incinerator etc. The air-handling system of the facility is comprised of 23 air-handling units (AHUs) with 97 HEPA filters fitted in 92 filter housings. The entire laboratory including the animal wing functions under gradient negative pressure (-50 pascals to –200 pascals) to prevent the possibility of escape of pathogens to the exterior. All solid and liquid waste is decontaminated by heat sterilization, gaseous sterilization or liquid disinfectant. The materials are removed to outside through airlocks, dunk tanks and barrier autoclaves.

The laboratory wing has separate rooms for disease diagnosis, immunology, pathology, biochemistry and molecular biology, recombinant DNA work, radioisotope handling, media preparation, cell culture, RNA extraction and infection room. Additional facilities include cold rooms, incubator room, glassware washing and preparation room, storage facilities, first aid room, dirty dispatch areas and air locks. The animal wing has facilities for housing large and small livestock, and laboratory animals. The animal rooms have separate air handling systems, which prevent cross contamination among rooms and escape of pathogens to surrounding areas and the environment. For remote handling of experimental animals inoculated with hazardous pathogens, three isolators (class III BSCs) have been provided. In between the two rows of animal rooms, provision exists for post mortem facility with cold storage. The post mortem room is connected to the clean area by an alkali wash room. All solid and liquid waste is decontaminated by heat sterilization, gaseous sterilization, or liquid disinfectant. The materials are removed through airlocks, dunk tanks and barrier autoclaves. The animal carcasses from animal wing are processed through a rendering plant to ensure sterilization for safe discard.

Outside the main laboratory, animal facilities are also available for quarantine of incoming animals (animal receiving shed) and their breeding and maintenance (animal holding shed) for regular supply of experimental animals. Supporting facilities for functioning of the laboratory/ animal wing are steam raising plant (boilers) for sterilization, de-mineralization plant, soft water plant, air conditioning plant, air compressors, a 33 kv electrical substation along with DG sets, storage tanks for diesel and furnace oil and engineering workshop etc. For safe handling of pathogens in the laboratory biosafety guidelines are available.